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 Match info | Description
Italy wins third straight over lackluster Netherlands

Italian captain Matej Cernic

Mantova, Italy, July 3, 2009 - Italy kept alive their dream of advancing to the 2009 FIVB World League Final Round in Belgrade by beating the Netherlands 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-22) in Mantova, Italy.

The win follows two victories against the Ducth in Eindhoven last weekend.

It was a great game for the Azzurri, who once again played without captain Valerio Vermiglio, who returned to the team in Round 4 but didn't see any playing time.

Italy started well in the first set with a good approach in the inside-out, leading 4-2 against Peter Blangè's team, which conceded too much in defense. On the other side, a couple of good defensive patterns helped Italy take an 8-6 lead into the first TTO. Netherlands clawed back to equal the score with better efficiency in serving.

The Italian defense versus the orange attack became the theme of a very interesting match as both teams played without any calculation. Italian blocking was crucial to giving the hosts an opportunity to play without nerves in the final part of the first set, forcing Blangè to call a timeout, which was ineffective. It was the Italians who gained a 5-point margin of victory at 21-16 after another Dutch timeout, and the home team closed the set 25-19.

With Dragan Travica in for Giacomo Sintini, Italy gained the lead with some nice attacking volleyball.

Netherlands improved in defense but were kept under constant pressure, which complicated any comeback attempt. With Italy ahead 11-7, Blangè called for a timeout. The Dutch returned to the court with a different attacking approach, which worked well until the home team exercised their attacking quality to close the second set 25-19.

With Italy ahead 2-0, the Netherlands tried to fight back but a couple of attacks from the second line by an inspired Savani gave Italy an 8-7 lead at the first technical suspension.

The spirit of the Netherlands came out but the Italian block was equal to the task from the very beginning. Blangè's team tried to increase its defensive efficiency but the Italians did not concede any opportunity with Lasko and Savani well assisted by Dragan Travica.

An ace by Robert Horstnik levelled the score but Italy consolidated its lead, and Blangè once again called for a timeout. Three mistakes helped Netherlands to inch ahead 21-20 but a great final spurt gave the Azzurri their third success in a row.


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